Author: Kamla Bhasin
Publisher: Kali/Women Unlimited
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8186706216
The word gender is now being used sociologically or as conceptual category, and it has been given a very specific meaning. In its new incarnation gender refers to the socio-cultural definition of man and woman, the way societies distinguish men and women and assign them social roles. It is used as an analytical tool to understand social realities with regard to women and men.
The distinction between sex and gender was introduced to deal with the general tendency to attribute women’s subordination to their anatomy. For ages it was believed that the different characteristics, roles and status accorded to women and men in society, are determined by biology (ie, sex), that they are natural, and therefore not changeable.
In a way women, and women’s bodies, were and are held responsible for their subordinate status in society. Once this is accepted as natural, there is obviously no need to address the gender inequalities and injustice which exist in society.